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ThinkPad X220 or ThinkPad X1?

I guess this is a question that a lot of people asks when trying to buy the latest ThinkPad X series, especially for those whom may not have owned the previous X series ThinkPads (i.e. X301, X201, etc). The decision about which one to purchase is not an easy one to make, especially when there are so many unique and compelling features that exists on a specific machine model. So much so when i was deciding to upgrade my X301 and X200, i was not sure whether i should be getting the ‘utilitarian’ X220 or the ‘uber-sexy’ X1. I thought about this over several days and i really liked both of these machines, so much so at one stage i contemplated about getting both of them. But i guess my ‘common sense’ got the best of me (which doesn’t ‘commonly’ occur with me) and i decided that i only ‘needed’ only one of these machines (but still ‘wanted’ both of them), which happened to be the ThinkPad X220. In order to make the decision making process a little easier i constructed a checklist, which listed all the attributes of the laptop that were important to me. Then i evaluated each laptop according to these attributes, the laptop that ticked most number of these boxes would then be mine my new ultraportable workhorse. But after 1 week ordering my ThinkPad X220, i was given a ThinkPad X1 for free, which i gratefully accepted. So after having these two machines and using them for couple of months, i think it is time to write a review to compare these two fine machines.

 

ThinkPads X220

First up i will review the X220, the machine that i chose to buy over the much sexier sibling ThinkPad X1. The main reasons that i choose the ThinkPad X220 over the ThinkPad X1 were:

  • It had longer battery life (9 cells battery provided up to 10 hrs and with a slice battery it can do up 20 hrs).
  • It works with my T400s Series 3 Port Replicator (X220 can use any of the Series 3 docking stations, which is great).
  • The battery can be removed and replaced easily (as opposed to the X1 with the built in battery pack).
  • The 4, 6, 9 cells + slice battery means that i can select the battery that most suited to my needs (not possible with X1).
  • IPS screen option for $70 AUD (this is the most highly sort after feature for many people).
  • 2 ram slots for up to 16 gigs (as opposed to X1’s single ram slot).
  • Full size displayport on the machine + vga port for projectors and old monitors.
  • The X220 was less of a gamble as compared to the ThinkPad X1, since i have owned and used X200 and X201.
  • The price of the X220 was lot more attractive (the X1 was around 300 dollars more expensive with less features).

 

which is the machine i use everyday at work and when i travel. The ThinkPad X220 is the bread and butter of the X series, and a ‘successor’ to the ThinkPad X201 and a very popular ThinkPad in general. Like most ThinkPad design it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, so many of the design elements in the ThinkPad X220 are already very familiar to the X200 and X201 users, which is a good thing for the corporate customers whom are looking to upgrade their older X series machine. While, the ThinkPad X220 does have many design elements in common with the older ThinkPad X200/X201, there are also however many unique improvements made on the X220 to make it more appealing to the target customer demographics (i.e. corporate customers, etc).

 

The ThinkPad X220 laptop is a bread and butter of the ThinkPad X series range, the design of this laptop follow closely to the previous ThinkPad X200/X201 designs, which is a good thing. This means that many people whom have used the previous X200 and X201, will feel right at home with the ThinkPad X220 with minimal adjustment period. Obviously, Lenovo designer did change a couple of things on the X220 to make it more serviceable, more hip-pocket friendly and more user friendly if i may say so, which are;

-Displayport is directly added to the laptop (which in the previous X20o and X201 is only available through the Ultrabase X200) -> i love it.

-IPS LCD became an option. -> I guess for Lenovo this makes perfect business sense, as a lot of X200/X201 users were doing the upgrade with aftermarket LCD parts, so market demand is present.

-Share the same keyboard with T420, T420s, T520, W520 (and also T400s, T410s, T410, T510, W510), which makes inventory management much easier for large corporation that field ThinkPads.

-USB 3.0 became an option on the X220 with i7 CPU (i5 and i3 CPU equipped X220 still make do with USB 2.0 technology).

-A latchless screen design, so you don’t need to slid a latch before opening the screen.

-A 9 cells slice battery that can double the battery life to give you around 20 hours of battery power, you can also charge the slice battery independently of the laptop. ->you got to love that.

-The X220 can use both the Series 3 Ultrabase and the regular Series 3 Dock (also compatible with T400s, T410s, T420s, T410, T420, T510, T520, W510, W520) -> which increases compatibility of ThinkPad peripherals between different models and generations, this will also help those companies that use hotdesking.

-mSATA support

So there are quite a lot of changes or improvements (some people may think it is a step backward or sideway) on the X220 to make life easier for the corporate customers whom may field tens of thousands of the new generation ThinkPads across their organisation. So having these new features will make their life easier in terms of keeping a

The X220 and X1 each have their own unique pros and cons, which make purchase decision about choosing a specific one very hard, i guess this is the reason why i got the X220 after getting the ThinkPad X1 (disclosure: i am a ThinkPad fanatic). So for those people whom are trying to decide whether to get the ThinkPad X1 or the X220, i guess this comparison post can help to assist you in making that fateful purchase decision.

  • Hurlanator

    I just got an X1, early days but I think I prefer the smaller screen and how compact the X200 is, but I had to upgrade from an X200 after having one destroyed when it was in a duffel bag under a reversing car, (wifes fault), it still work despite being bent in hald with a cracked screen, one that overheated and the video card cracked, the current one has been dropped, thrown and is on it’s third screen. I like the utilitarian sense of the X200 as it is easier to repair, I dislike how the X1 lacks the modulation of the X200. nice to use though.